Tackling the challenge of mental health issues among young people is a topic universities across the world are struggling to get to grips with.

DR BENJAMIN VENESS swapped a corporate banking career for medicine and is a second-year doctor in Sydney. He is also a mental health advocate.

While studying medicine, Veness represented 17,000 medical students as President of the Australian Medical Students’ Association.

He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2013 to research the under-addressed issue of university students’ mental health. His report recommended seven key changes to how the sector addresses the mental health of students.

He is a proponent of stronger university leadership on mental wellbeing and the need for a sector-wide research capability into mental illness prevention and early intervention.

Veness visited ANU to speak at a Mental Health in Higher Education Symposium, hosted by the ANU Students’ Association, where he spoke to RICHARD FOX.